Peter Falk and Ruth Gordon in Columbo: Try and Catch Me (1977)

Columbo's a Safe Cracker

Crime writer Abigail Mitchell (Ruth Gordon) has always be convinced that her niece's death was the fault of her husband Edmund Galvin (Charles Frank). It is why under the pretence of having Edmund sign some papers to do with her will that she invites him up to her home where she springs her trap to kill him before departing on a trip. When she returns home she finds the police all over her home as Edmund's body has been found in her sound proof safe where he slowly suffocated. But before he died Edmund was able to leave a series of clues on the floor of the safe, clues which perplex Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) who just can't get a nagging feeling out of his head.

I've mentioned before that "Columbo" has a handful of formulas it ran with and one of the best was always when Columbo found himself pitted against someone who was clever and who believe they had planned the perfect crime. And that is what you have in "Columbo: Try and Catch Me" with the entertaining set up of the master sleuth Columbo pitted against a master writer of crime fiction who probably has dreamed up as many ways to commit a crime as Columbo has solved. And as I said it is entertaining especially with Edmund having left a series of clues from a manuscript on the floor to burnt matches set out in a specific way.

Mariette Hartley in Columbo: Try and Catch Me (1977)

But we don't just have one great mind pitched against another in "Columbo: Try and Catch Me" we also have Ruth Gordon giving us sweet little old lady with a dark side. What this does is make for the scenes between Columbo and Abigail a simple joy as you have Peter Falk turning on the smiles and knowing charm whilst Ruth Gordon delivers sweet little old lady smiles and friendliness. You enjoy every single head to head between them and it has to be said that at the age of 81 Ruth Gordon was a remarkably sprightly actress who brings a nice tough of forthrightness to the role.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Try and Catch Me" is a little packet of "Columbo" joy as not only do you have then entertaining set up of Columbo up against a writer of crime fiction but also because of Ruth Gordon's wonderful performance as Abigail.